This is a pull quote from an Atlantic article discussing Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster watch that he wore on the moon. This very watch worn by Aldrin is available today in its original form. This quote stuck with me.
… In other words, the Speedmaster and watches like it provide a sense of permanence in an age with little of it. The Speedmaster available today is virtually the same as the one Aldrin wore on the moon, or indeed the one Omega introduced way back in 1957, as a tool for race-car drivers.
It is unchanged because there’s nothing to change: The mechanical watch is, along with the bicycle, an arguably perfect invention. If wound every day and serviced regularly, it can run for perpetuity. There aren’t many things you can say that about in our era of fast fashion and biennial phone upgrades.
I’m not sure we think about things in terms of permanence. Few things are permanent. In fact, Kevin Kelly in The Inevitable – Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future suggests that everything now is in a state of becoming.
This shift toward processes also means ceaseless change is the fate for everything we make. We are moving away from the world of fixed nouns and toward a world of fluid verbs. In the next 30 years we will continue to take solid things—an automobile, a shoe—and turn them into intangible verbs. Products will become services and processes.
The things we will make will be constantly, relentlessly becoming something else.
Increasingly humans are willing to turn over what they do to machines. But what do we do as humans that we should do for perpetuity?
And what will our grandkids write 50 years from now concerning the timeless constant of the human experience? What is our Speedmaster?
Buzz Aldrin Apollo 11 image via NASA images